Monday, December 31, 2007

December 31, 2007

This has been a pretty good year, all-in-all, but the past month has been a bit of a bummer. I spent a lot of time in hospital waiting rooms. The most curious being the surgery waiting room at the UCLA hospital in Santa Monica. I sat and waited among many others, waiting for the contact phone to ring, calling us to the bedsides of those recovering from the surgery. There were the usual slick magazines lying about, the the most curious attraction was the tourist rack beside the phone desk. The brochures seemed to suggest that we were checked in at a fun place and dying to treat ourselves to the local attractions.

Outside the entrance to the hospital in the cold December, individuals, including many staff-attired, leaned against the building to grab a quick smoke.
Not a bad year, as I stated, but 2008 is going to be great.

Friday, December 07, 2007

On the Doghouse

I have been viewing the Peanuts strip for over fifty years. I have watched Snoopy snooze, cavort and create on the top of his doghouse for most of that time.

I just bought and assembled a similar product for Charlie.

Upon viewing the results of my assembly, I had to wonder how Snoopy was able to perch so easily on that pointed peak.

So I did a little research and found the first time Schulz drew Snoopy on the doghouse.

Dec. 12, 1958

Since we see with our brain, it is interesting how I have turned mine off when looking at comics all these years.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Bad Calls

There is a cliche in sports viewing that bad calls by the officials tend to even out. I don't agree with this piece of conventional wisdom, but I am not without an opinion on the subject. I contend that the better team always wins, despite being on the receiving end of bad, really wrong calls.

Pittsburgh (the university) was the visiting team and on the receiving end of several bad calls last night, especially near the end of the game. Nonetheless, they beat #2 West Virginia because -- yesterday -- they were the better team on the field. This was evident throughout the game. The Pittsburgh Panthers were better than the West Virgina team and the officiating team combined.

Last Sunday, undefeated New England Patriots barely squeaked out a come-from-behind victory over the lowly, but inspired, Philadelphia Eagles after having received a horrendously bad interference call, late in the 4th quarter, that gained Philadelphia the lead. Temporarily.

I cite these two examples of what I mean when I say the better team is seldom, if ever, defeated by bad calls. Being the better team, or playing the better game that day, will always prevail over bad officiating.

That has long been apparent to me in sports. I think I now recognize this is also a rule in life -- which is full of bad calls. To be a winner, you have to overcome bad calls.

Saturday, December 01, 2007


It was raining yesterday as I drove to the health club. Nearing the gated entrance, I passed a small car angled toward the curb. The hood was up and a young black man (plot point) was dealing with the mechanisms beneath. I collected my parking ticket as I entered the structure and cruised the first floor, looking for a space.

The man from the stalled car called to me from outside the structure, asking for a battery cable connection boost. I told him I couldn't bring my car back out without a validation. He went back to his car. I had Charlie with me. I put his leash on, pulled out my cables and an umbrella, and went to the stalled car. I held up my cables and suggested to the driver that I might be able to flag down a car with them. Some cars passed us by in the rain, but one did stop. I held up the cables to the young Asian (plot point) driver and stated the obvious about the stalled car. This young man then maneuvered into the proper position. I connected the cables to the batteries, and the the stalled car eventually revved into life.

Both cars went on their way and I took Charlie back to the Trooper, and went on to the club. Basically, I felt good about having been able to help somebody, stalled and helpless in the rain. But I felt even a little better when I considered that someone was able to ask for help to start a stalled car. And that a black, Asian and and white guy could, together, easily solve the problem, despite a nuisance rain, and move on with their business.

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